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Workers clear debris in Brampton, Ont., after the Christmas-week ice storm that knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of homes in Ontario. (KEVIN VAN PAASSEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
Workers clear debris in Brampton, Ont., after the Christmas-week ice storm that knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of homes in Ontario. (KEVIN VAN PAASSEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)


Dec. 30: Ice storm aftermaths, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Ice storm aftermaths

Re Hydro Rejects Buried Power Lines (Dec. 27): Severe ice storms are not uncommon in a northern climate. With some exceptions, we should not have to live for days and days without power because of trees falling across power lines, but we do.

Why? Because we do not insist that hydro lines be buried like our water, sewage and gas lines.

Humans can land an all-terrain vehicle on Mars, but we’re still stringing electrical wires from point A to B on wooden poles. And so each time there is a major ice storm, we pay millions of dollars to restore power. We never seem to learn.

Recently, my street was torn apart to install new sewers, water mains, gas lines, sidewalks and roadway. Guess what was left dangling on poles? Power lines of course, hanging there just waiting for the next ice storm to leave us to freeze in the dark.

Jim McDonald, Dundas, Ont.


Re Our Great White North (Dec. 24): William Kurelek’s simple yet stunning depiction of winter, Deep Snow in Canada’s North, is reminiscent of what makes this time of year so special here.

It was painted in 1968, just two years after one of the biggest blizzards on record hit my hometown of Winnipeg. March truly came in like a lion on the first Friday of the month in 1966, shutting down public transportation for a week, stranding thousands and delivering eight-foot snowdrifts. Our bungalow had drifts that touched the eaves, eerily similar to Mr. Kurelek’s painting. My two brothers and I wasted little time scampering onto the roof, much to our mother’s chagrin.

That storm and its aftermath served as a catalyst to somehow bring the community closer together, including complete strangers, as everyone pitched in to help each other through.

Whether it’s a flood in Alberta, fires in the Okanagan, a hurricane in Nova Scotia or an ice storm paralyzing Canada’s largest city, we always seem to rise to the occasion, one way or another, to ensure that everyone gets taken care of. Once again, Canadians have proven that, together, we do have the power to overcome any challenge and that it’s always better to give than to receive.

Jeffrey Peckitt, Oakville, Ont.


Senators, the media

Re The Senate And The Press Gallery (Dec. 27): Preston Manning’s party has been hugely embarrassed by the Senate scandal – especially the revelations concerning the role of the PMO. So why not use the now well-worn approach – attack, attack, attack and claim others are far worse.

Mr. Manning puffs hard to put wind in the sails of the blame-the-media approach. Particularly grating is his comment on the CBC as “a highly subsidized organization.” Not mentioned is that Canada’s private-industry television is equally highly subsidized by laws that allow them to import programing and sell it to advertisers at a substantial profit.

CBC, increasingly crippled each year by the federal government, carries on with high-standard journalism and Canadian – not American “entertainment factory” – storytelling.

Mr. Manning’s fellow travellers would like to see that disappear, too. To whose benefit, and why?

Peter Feniak, Toronto


Forced constitution

Re Egypt Rounds Up Muslim Brotherhood Members As Blast Hits Cairo (Dec. 27): Egypt’s persecution of the Muslim Brotherhood’s members couldn’t occur in a proper constitutional democracy, as political affiliation is typically protected, as is the “right of association” accorded in Canada’s Constitution, for example.

Ironically, the Brotherhood finds itself in this situation after having tried to ram through a constitution based upon strict religious tenets, rather than one designed to protect minorities against the tyranny of the state.

While Egypt’s military leadership seems to be above the law, one can only wonder: If the Brotherhood had acted appropriately during its short tenure, would it have retained power?

Robert S. Sciuk, Oshawa, Ont.


A freeze – on coats

Re Budget Cuts Leave Cadets Without Parkas, Workout Clothes Or New Uniforms (Dec. 27): You have to admire the Harper gov-ernment for making tough, deficit-fighting decisions, including a freeze on new parkas for Canada’s cadets just as we get serious about winter. Great timing.

Walter Tedman, Kingston


Values how-to guide

Re PQ Releases Holiday Guide To Defending Values Charter (Dec. 26): If people genuinely believe in this charter of values, they shouldn’t have to turn to a self-help guide to defend such belief. Pauline Marois may consider it necessary, however, considering her document presents a false solution to a false problem.

Amy Soule, Hamilton


Sung with gusto

Re A-Wassailing, Ready Or Not (Dec. 24): We sang all of Warren Clements’s clever commentaries with gusto: a welcome antidote to political scum and scandal, and a fitting tribute to Alice Munro.

Naomi Norquay, Toronto


Unified on losing

Re Let’s Not Forget About The Good We Saw In 2013 (Dec. 24): Yes, unity is a good thing – but for the working class and working poor, our greatest national consensus is that we’re losing ground, working harder, retiring later, paying more for everything and losing our voice as a nation as more and more of our fundamental ideals are lost in the fine print of international trade deals.

We’re agreeing on what we’ve lost, not on our advancements.

Peter Kidder, Vancouver


Privately, in the open

Re Hush-Hush Meetings (editorial, Dec. 27): If groups of politicians are not to be allowed to meet with each other informally to explore plans for advancing public business, then there is one more reform for the Ontario Legislature to enact: All provincial cabinet and party caucus meetings must be held in public.

Only when this is done should we take seriously the Ontario Ombudsman’s crusade against municipal councillors who want the same rights as provincial politicians to consult with each other in private before meeting formally in legislative session.

Andrew Sancton, professor of political science, University of Western Ontario


Hmm, 49-cent stamp

The U.S. Postal Service has just announced it will raise the price of a first-class stamp from 46 cents to – wait for it – 49 cents, but only long enough to recover the losses it suffered during the recession. That will make the cost of a single Canadian stamp more than twice that of its U.S. counterpart. I have a proposition: Why not turn Canada Post over to the U.S. Postal Service to run?

Ron Freedman, Toronto

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